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Our Suitcase Security Guide for Hand & Hold Luggage

What Makes a Suitcase Secure?

The time is finally here for your highly anticipated vacation, and you deserve it to go off without a hitch. You’ll want to pack your favourite holiday outfits, bring your brand-new sunglasses and wear the swimsuit you treated yourself to. But, most importantly, you need these valuables to be secure inside your suitcase. 

Luggage Security

For such a simple idea, suitcases come in many shapes and sizes, and their levels of security vary. Securing your luggage is imperative when you travel. There are thousands of suitcase designs available to buy, the choice can be overwhelming. However, the benefits of a bag with a TSA (Travel Sentry Approved) lock are very high. 

Benefits of TSA Locks in Airports

  • A safer screening process
  • More efficient inspections
  • No damage to luggage

Travel Sentry Airports

TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents are part of the airport security staff. The security officers are provided with secure tools to facilitate the screening of airport hold baggage. This happens in over 750 airports worldwide including 450 in the USA where the Travel Sentry System is implemented. This means a bag with a TSA-accepted lock can be unlocked, searched and relocked without damage. 

Benefits of TSA Locks When Travelling

TSA locks are a great way to prevent thieves from stealing valuables and keeping your belongings safe and secure. You can also buy locks separately if you have a beloved bag that does not have a luggage lock. It’s always better to lock your bag than leave it defenceless and run the risk of losing your items. You don’t want your bag to arrive at your destination’s baggage carousel open for all to see.

What To Look For When Purchasing a Suitcase

With all this in mind, when purchasing your suitcase, you should research the following elements. 

  • Material
  • Size
  • Wheels
  • Personalization 
  • Budget, spending a bit more money on a better quality bag which may last longer.
  • Closing Mechanism

Here are some features to consider when searching for a practical and secure bag in a design you love.

Hard Shell Suitcases

A hard shell suitcase is resistant and is designed to protect your luggage. The hard shell is more effective in preventing theft due to its harder outer casing. As well as this, it is much easier to keep your luggage dry in rain, snow, or puddles. It also provides better protection against general spills and accidents. 

A hard shell case is durable and will keep your luggage safe when it is on its journey from being checked in to being loaded onto the plane and finally reunited with you at baggage reclaim. These suitcases will resist the conveyer belt’s mechanisms, meaning your case will likely last longer and will be a good investment.

Bright and Bold Colours

A bright colour suitcase will stand out on the baggage carousel. This makes it easy for you to spot it quickly and keep an eye on it. It also speeds up the process and helps you enjoy your vacation sooner! 

A bright or patterned TSA strap lock is also a great way to easily distinguish your bag. You can also customize it with a colourful ribbon, a scarf, or a unique luggage tag. Finally, many brands offer options to personalize your case with your name or initials. All of these elements will make it easier to find at baggage reclaim. 

Competent Closing Mechanism

A resilient closing mechanism allows limited entry points and keeps your luggage secure. The zipper is a weak spot in a bag and can be punctured with a ballpoint pen or similar.

Puncture Resistant Zippers

Suitcases can now be designed with a puncture-resistant zipper.  The double-element structure increases the chainzipper’s resistance to puncture. This option provides you with peace of mind and a safe journey.

Zipper-Free Luggage

Another option is zipper-free luggage. These suitcases don’t have exterior zippers but have a metal or plastic frame closed by a latch (or two) that can be locked with a TSA luggage lock. They’re much harder to break into and less likely to break open than a zipper. Some brands have also developed their own unique systems to tackle this issue.

View our blog on keeping your luggage safe, from airport travel to hotel rooms.

Added Protection

These tips will help you when choosing a bag and securing your luggage. For added security, we advise tagging your belongings with a TSID tag and registering through TSID.com. That way, if your luggage gets lost, you have a better chance of having it returned to you (with free protection for life!).

How to Pack a Suitcase for a 2 Week Trip

Are you preparing for your next vacation? Lucky you! It’s exciting to plan a holiday, but packing can be a daunting task. We think the best way to tackle it is with a game-plan; and that requires both researching your destination, and making sure that you have all the right gear to keep you organised and stress-free throughout your journey.

Our Tips To Packing a Suitcase for 2 Weeks

Create a Packing List

First thing’s first: research your destination! We’re sure that you’ve planned at least a little bit of your holiday in advance, but really looking at the details of your destination will help you prepare. 

  • Are you going somewhere warm, cold, rainy? 
  • Does your destination have any culture-related dress requirements? 
  • What activities do you have planned? 
  • Are there washing facilities where you’re staying? 

Answering all these questions will help you create your packing lists and streamline the process.

Versatile Clothing

We recommend packing clothing that is versatile, with a base of neutral colours, that will allow you to mix and match your outfits throughout the trip, minimising the quantity of clothing that you need to take with you.

Not into neutral colors?

No problem! Don’t go out and buy all new clothing if you don’t have to, just make sure that you can combine various items of clothing to get the most wear out of them. And be sure to wear your heaviest items to save space within your luggage.

Only Bring Shoes You Need

Minimising the pairs of shoes that you take along is a must as well, and as with your clothing, wearing your bulkiest pair on the day that you travel will help to save space.

Laundry Detergent Instead

Packing laundry detergent is also a great way to allow you to re-wear your clothing while keeping them fresh throughout your stay. Just be sure to keep the quantity to 100ml (3.4oz) if it’s a liquid and going into your carry-on.

Packing Toiletries

Figuring out how to pack your toiletries can seem overwhelming. Check in advance to see if your accommodation provides basic toiletries if you’re not too picky about what type of soap or shampoo you use. This can be a real space (and weight!) saver if you don’t need to take these items along.

Knowing The Rules

If you would like to (or need to) pack your own toiletries, knowing the rules for what can be placed into your carry-on and what should be packed into your checked bags is a great first step. 

3-1-1 Rule

The TSA  3-1-1 rule determines that each liquid must be in a 100ml (3.4oz) or less container and that all containers must be placed inside one clear, quart-sized plastic bag in order to be packed inside your carry-on. You can buy travel-sized toiletries that comply with this rule or use empty travel-sized containers and squeeze some of your everyday toiletries inside if you prefer. 

Might be of interest – Our Easy Pack Carry on Toiletry Bag

Checking Your Toiletries

If you will be checking bags, you are allowed to pack full-size toiletries. We recommend that you still place these full-sized toiletries into a designated toiletry bag in case of accidental leakage.

Save Space with Travel Accessories

Travel accessories like toiletry bags and packing cubes can help you to maximise space within your suitcase and keep you organised along the way. Packing cubes have the ability to compress items within, giving you that often-needed extra space inside your suitcase and providing easy access to your items. Not only that, but they also allow you to divide your belongings into categories, whether by day or by traveller for example, helping you to stay organised while packing and after arriving at your destination. 

Using Toiletry Bags

Toiletry bags are a great way to keep your personal care items separate from your clothing and other items, and many offer multiple pockets and compartments to keep everything in its place while on the move.

Fragile Items

While we don’t recommend taking fragile items with you on holiday, we know that sometimes you may need to pack gifts or may enjoy collecting delicate souvenirs on your trip. If you have small items, these can be carefully placed in your carry-on bags. For items that need to go into your checked bags, we recommend wrapping your fragile items in clothing and ensuring a snug fit between softer items to avoid breakage and disappointment.

Returning from your Trip

When you’re getting ready to pack for your return journey, it’s good to bear in mind the packing list that you made before you left. Not only will this keep you from leaving something behind, but it will also help you to stay organized and make the whole repacking process as painless as possible. You can even use your packing cubes to keep your clean clothing separate from the dirty, and any unused toiletries can be placed back into your toiletry bags. 

Keep Your Trip Running Smoothly

No matter how you pack for your trip, it all comes down to personal preference, and what will work best for you during your journey. Knowing the rules of travel and staying organized will help to keep things running smoothly. And in order to keep your personal property safe throughout the journey, always be sure to secure your belongings with a Travel Sentry® Approved lock. 

For added peace of mind, we also recommend tagging your belongings with a TSID tag and registering through TSID.com. That way, if your luggage gets lost you have a better chance of having it returned to you (with free protection for life!).

How to Keep Your Luggage Safe

Feeling safe and the safety of your luggage is part of Travel Sentry’s DNA. Every solution we offer is aimed to achieve a better travel experience.

We want to share with you how you can prevent theft and loss of items when travelling. Whether that’s in the airport, at airport security or when you finally make it to your hotel. This is important as you travel with some of your most valuable items in your carry-on, in your hold-luggage and on your person. Here are some steps to stay vigilant and keep your belongings safe. 

Keeping Your Luggage Safe When Travelling

We hope these tips to keep your luggage safe will give you peace of mind and improve your travel experience.

Should You Lock Your Luggage?

It is essential to keep your luggage safe when travelling. Some travellers think that they should not lock their hold luggage as this was previously the advice. However, this was the advice when all bags were being searched pre-flight. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now suggests you lock your checked baggage with TSA accepted locks. So, in answer to the question, should you lock your luggage, yes you can lock your luggage.

Look For the Red Diamond

All Travel Sentry locks are recognized and approved by the TSA. Look for the red diamond Travel Sentry symbol when shopping for these TSA Locks. The TSA screens approximately 1.4 million checked bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Many bags are searched by security agents before being loaded onto the plane. A search can be caused by any small issue picked up at screening.

TSA Accepted Locks

Airport security agents have specialist tools to access the TSA accepted locks and luggage. They can do this efficiently without damage, setting your mind at ease and speeding up the boarding process, a win-win! Other locks and luggage may be broken into at the screening process if a potential prohibited item is detected. This may damage the luggage and make it an easy target for thieves.

Do not leave luggage unattended

You should always keep your luggage locked and with you when you are at the airport. If luggage is left unattended and unlocked, anyone can open your bag and place prohibited items in it without your knowledge. Once your hold luggage has been checked in, it is out of site, however, if it has a TSA-accepted luggage lock you can relax as your luggage is safe. 

Track Your Luggage

Travel Sentry offers one step further when it comes to tracking your luggage. We offer an option for you to be able to report lost or stolen luggage with TSID. Our TSID is a smart ID tag with free lifetime protection

How Does TSID Work?

TSID links owners and their property using a unique code for any item that needs to be protected from accidental loss. By not showing your personal details on your property, your identity and privacy are protected. TSID comes with free lifetime protection with no subscription required. 

You can be as safe and secure as possible, but cannot control your luggage going missing. But, TSID is the global solution to track your lost luggage and help find your missing items.

Lock carry-on when flying and travelling

Carry-on luggage should also be secure as your overhead locker might not be directly above you once you’ve boarded the plane, or in fact anywhere near you! Often, if the plane is busy and hand luggage is overcrowded, your luggage will be stowed in the hold, and without a lock it is unsafe. 

Travelling through an airport

Being in an airport can be extremely busy, stressful, and distracting so it is important that you are always in control of your bags and belongings. If your carry-on is left open or out of sight even for a few seconds it will make you an easy target for theft.

Safety in hotel rooms and lockers

No hotel room is 100% secure. Use a security lock when you leave unattended luggage in your hotel room to ensure your luggage is safe while enjoying your vacation. We do advise you to lock your luggage and any valuable items away when you are not in your hotel room to avoid anything from being stolen and to be cautious, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Hotel Lockers

A hotel room is never fully secure, even if there’s a safe to lock your valuables. It is possible that the safe has a master key that hotel employees can gain access to.

We hope these solutions will help you to keep your luggage safe and allow you to enjoy your travel experience. Along with keeping luggage secure, passengers with Travel Sentry luggage locks or padlocks will have a safe, easy and efficient inspection without damaging baggage. Just look for the red diamond Travel Sentry symbol when shopping for these TSA-accepted products.

Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

We have put together a list of the TSA’s most frequently asked questions. Giving you the insight to have your bag packed to perfection and have a seamless airport experience. By knowing the answers to these questions, you can get through airport security quickly. Getting you to your well-deserved glass of champagne and your holiday started as soon as possible. 

Bags being searched at airport security causes longer queues and a slower airport experience. Every year millions of prohibited items are confiscated at airport security. These are usually items that have not been packed in hold luggage and could risk the safety of the aircraft. Here is our list of common TSA questions to help you be as efficient as possible.

Our List of Commonly Asked TSA Questions

Is ChapStick a liquid for TSA?

Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream, or paste may be flagged during screening and will require additional security checks. Chapstick, lipstick, and solid lip balms are not considered liquids by the TSA. They can be in your handbag, carry-on or hand luggage without being separated into your clear plastic liquids bag. 

Lip Balm and Lip Gloss

It is worth noting, lip gloss and jars of lip balm should be separated into your liquids bag. The TSA  3-1-1 rule determines that each liquid must be in a 100ml (3.4oz) or less container, and that all containers must be placed inside one clear, quart-sized plastic bag in order to be packed inside your carry-on.

Can I wear jewellery through TSA?

Although you’re allowed to take jewelry through TSA security you may be asked to remove it. This is the same as your belt and other metallic objects you may wear.  Depending on the weight and the size of the object it may be worth placing your items in your carry-on to avoid further security searches.

Placing Items in Your Carry-On

By placing it in your carry-on rather than your tray you avoid slowing down the queue. As well as avoiding forgetting items if you’re in a rush. It’s also a good way to prevent your items from being stolen, you can read more about keeping your luggage safe here.

Fine Jewellery

Fine jewellery and small pieces shouldn’t set off the metal detectors when you go through airport security, which means you don’t need to take every single piece of jewellery off.

Can I take an empty water bottle through TSA?

TSA has been through training on how to reduce its carbon footprint and it starts with the small things. Reduce waste and save some money by bringing a reusable water bottle.

Make sure your water bottle is empty.

So, you cannot bring water or any other liquids more than 3.4 oz. (although there are some exceptions) through security, but you can bring an empty bottle. Just fill it up on your way to boarding your flight after screening.

Do you have to take out portable chargers for TSA?

Portable chargers or power banks containing a lithium-ion battery (most portable chargers will contain a lithium-ion battery) must be packed in carry-on bags. They cannot be in your luggage as they are capable of overheating.


Power banks are categorized as Personal Electronic Devices (PED), which are essentially electronics with lithium batteries larger than a mobile phone. PEDs need to be removed from hand luggage and placed in a separate bin for screening.

Is a bar of soap considered a liquid by TSA?

You can take a bar of soap on a plane because soap bars are considered solids and therefore not subject to the same rules as liquid items. You can pack your favorite soap bar to freshen up once through security, without worrying about a TSA agent confiscating it.

Are makeup wipes liquid for TSA?

Makeup wipes, baby wipes and other wet wipes do not count as liquids, so can be taken through security. However, makeup is one area that can be confusing because many types of makeup are liquid-like in nature. Makeup can be expensive, so you want to avoid this being confiscated! Liquids, like foundation, nail polish, mascara and lip gloss are subject to the 3-1-1 rule. Items like face powder or bronzer, do not. 

Can you bring a blanket through TSA? 

The TSA allows travelers to include blankets in their carry-on bags and checked luggage. The TSA stated “A blanket is allowed through the checkpoint. Airlines set restrictions for the size and number of carry-on items allowed. Please reach out to your airline so you won’t have any surprises when you get to the airport.” 

In most cases, you won’t need to contact the airline, especially if you’re bringing a packable travel blanket with you on the plane. These blankets are designed to be lightweight and easy to store in your carry-on bag or backpack, so you won’t have to worry about them taking up too much space. If you’re planning on bringing a weighted blanket for comfort or to help reduce anxiety, please contact the airline.

Can you bring gummy bears through TSA?

Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 100ml (3.4 oz) are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.

Keeping Your Bag uncluttered

TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.

Candy on a Plane

Feel free to bring your gummy bears on your plane journey. As long as it’s not liquid candy then you’ll be fine traveling through airport security.

TSA Guidelines:

Remove the 3-1-1 liquids bag and place it in the bin.

Ensure pockets are empty (keys, tissues, currency, wallets, cell phones, etc.) and remove bulky jewelry (valuable items can be placed in carry-on).

Remove your shoes and place them directly on the X-ray belt.

Remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening. (E.g. laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles.)

Remember to check the bins and collect all belongings after going through screening.

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